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Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following message to members on Thursday.
I am writing with a quick update on the recent events occurring on our southern border. Although the Trump administration signed an executive order to end family separations, the need for volunteer attorneys remains strong—particularly Spanish-speaking immigration lawyers.
Whenever we have had manmade or natural disasters in this state, Texas lawyers have risen to the occasion to help those who cannot help themselves. I have found the only impediment is not knowing how to help. Below are resources for you to get involved and make a difference.
On Monday, the Austin Bar Association will offer training on how to help families separated at the border. The in-person CLE session titled Responding to Zero-Tolerance: Credible Fear and Immigration Bond Hearing Training is sold out, but the Austin Bar will live-stream the training on Periscope for all who wish to watch and learn more. For more details on how to download Periscope and watch, click here.
The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR)—a joint project of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association—is requesting volunteers who are fluent in Spanish and have some background in immigration law. For more information, go here.
American Gateways has reported that it could use attorneys immediately to help with limited representation for Credible Fear Interviews and Reasonable Fear Interviews, and help preparing for bond hearings. You can sign up to volunteer here.
This news story contains a list of legal and humanitarian organizations that are mobilizing to help immigrant children and families. And the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative has this page on how to help. Many of the organizations listed on both of these pages are seeking volunteers or donations.
Assuring equal access to justice and supporting the administration of the legal system are essential parts of our State Bar’s mission. We will continue to identify and provide resources to lawyers and the public to aid in responding to this situation.
President, State Bar of Texas
Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following update to members on Thursday.
I am writing to update you on yesterday’s State Bar of Texas Board of Directors meeting in Houston that precedes our 2018 Annual Meeting. We have two days of informative CLE sessions starting today. Learn more at texasbar.com/annualmeeting.
The Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve hiring an independent advisory firm, Weaver, to complete an examination of the State Bar’s transparency efforts and to make recommendations for improvement.The findings will be reported to the board and shared publicly.
The board voted unanimously in April to request proposals from qualified firms to conduct a thorough, independent review of transparency at the bar. The Audit and Finance Committee recommended Weaver to the board out of four responses to the RFP.
This is the latest in a series of transparency improvements at the State Bar in recent months, including the launch of the Our Finances webpage and the videotaping of board meetings, which can be found here. Video from yesterday’s meeting will be posted by next week.
President-elect task forces
The board accepted reports and recommendations from President-elect Joe K. Longley’s Transparency Task Force and Financial Responsibility & Fiscal Control Task Force and voted to allow the terms of the task forces to expire on Friday along with the term of the president-elect, as our policy provides. We thank the members of both task forces for their service to the bar. We will fully consider their recommendations.
You can read the task force reports here.
General counsel election
The board voted unanimously to elect Ross Fischer of Austin as general counsel to the board, under the terms laid out here.
The board voted in January to approve the hiring of a general counsel, a statutory position under the State Bar Act. The General Counsel Search Committee interviewed six Texas lawyers out of 12 respondents for the position before recommending Fischer to the board in May.
Fischer is an attorney with the Gober Group who specializes in legislative and campaign law, professional ethics, and government integrity matters. His clients include elected officials, candidates, trade associations, political committees, local governments, municipalities, and corporations. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Fischer is regularly called upon to advise public entities on matters involving legislative law, public integrity, and campaign and election procedures. The board looks forward to working with him.
Randy Sorrels and Laura Gibson, both of Houston, will be sworn in today as president-elect and board chair, respectively. President-elect Longley will be sworn in as 2018-2019 president of the State Bar on Friday.
It has been my absolute honor to serve you as president over the past year.
President, State Bar of Texas
The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday to elect Ross Fischer of Austin as general counsel to the board.
Fischer is an attorney with the Gober Group who specializes in legislative and campaign law, professional ethics, and government integrity matters. His clients include elected officials, candidates, trade associations, political committees, local governments, municipalities, and corporations.
Click here to read the full news release.
The Austin Bar Association is hosting a training for attorneys who want to help families separated upon entering the United States.
The training, titled Responding to Zero-Tolerance: Credible Fear and Immigration Bond Hearing Training, will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday, June 25 at the Austin Bar office. The in-person training is sold out, has more than 100 attorneys already signed up and a growing waitlist, said Nancy Gray, director of communications for the Austin Bar.
Due to the enormous demand, the course will be live streamed on Periscope. If you would like to watch remotely, prepare by downloading Periscope to your mobile device, creating a Periscope account, and following the Austin Bar at @austinbarassociation.
The training will be taught by University of Texas School of Law immigration clinic professors Barbara Hines, Denise Gilman, and Elissa Steglich.
Texas Center for Legal Ethics announced its plans for State Bar of Texas 2018 Annual Meeting where attendees can earn CLE and preview the center’s newest ethics CLE subscription-based program launching later this Fall.
The subscription program aims to provide new and current TCLE members with an intuitive online resource to access continuing education courses on-demand, as well as TCLE’s vast library of ethics and professionalism resources. The center will preview the program during Annual Meeting exhibition hours at Booth 107.
To read the full news release, go here.
Annual Meeting attendees also can earn one hour of ethics CLE credit during TCLE’s popular morning break-out session on Thursday titled, “Your Brain on Ethics: How That Thing Between Your Ears Can Lead You Astray.” To learn more about Annual meeting and registering, go here.